Tips from The Pros: Have You Checked All Years in City Directories? from Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Be sure to check for city directories from all the places where a family resided and try not to miss a year. This may mean checking multiple libraries and websites with digitized images. If you skipped some years, what have you missed? The year in which the oldest son has the designation “USA” after his name meaning he was in the military service? Those missed years may give the death date of the head of the family, tell that Uncle Horace moved to St. Louis, and give the name of the railroad grandpa worked for instead of just the term “laborer.” For the son, Malcolm, it might tell that he attended Kansas Wesleyan University, and that leads to the alumni office. A recent check at the 1890 Census Substitute at Ancestry gave me some surprises for a great-granduncle, Fred Slaker.

The 1890 census substitute includes information from city directories generally around 1888-92. Among the many other places to search for directories are the WorldCat, Family History Library,
Allen County Public Library, and of course, libraries and historical societies in the actual geographic area.  

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3 thoughts on “Tips from The Pros: Have You Checked All Years in City Directories? from Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

  1. When will Ancestry put in their census film area the 1890 Oklahoma Territory census records?

  2. Also check the newspaper of the local towns and check for local news. In Tiffin, Ohio the newspapers did township and community news items and you can find comments on family visiting and traveling. I even found info on a building on a farm. Try it if the local newspapers carry this info. I have done it for others and you come up with alot of interesting info on the everyday affairs. Sometimes the obits are in this same article.

  3. Don’t put complete faith in city directories. The Waco, Texas, directory shows my husband living at our home address. He died 30 years ago. I have never received a visit or a form from the city directory publisher. If they use telephone directories, only, how will they cope when more people decide to have cell phones,only (no land line)?

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